WOLFFORTH, Texas – Thursday through Saturday are three important days if you live in the plains of the panhandle because these three short days, these 72 hours – well, less than that actually – are the only days you can wrap your lips around some of the most sought after ribs of Lubbock county.
We’re at Evie Mae’s BBQ, and all of this was started by a man from New Mexico named Arnis. While he grew up just on the other side of the state border, he prides himself on his meticulous method of making Texas BBQ.
“Patience and having the desire to learn and a passion for it,” said Arnis. “It’s a long process.”
Despite being a relative newcomer to the Game of Bones, Arnis’s reputation as the brisket slayer has him blazing his own trail.
“The first day we opened, I hand-painted that [sign] and set it out by the road and that was, that was our sign,” Arnis said. “BBQ, yep. It paid for itself a couple of times by now.”
Arnis started making BBQ out of necessity, after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2012.
“It’s an autoimmune disorder. I’m basically allergic to wheat, barley, and rye. My body doesn’t know how to process the protein associated with those grains,” said Arnis. “There’s no medication. It’s strictly dietary change. I got to the point to where I could not function. Like I was having panic attacks.”
Arnis completely changed his diet and started cooking beef with an electric smoker. But soon he longed for something bigger, something more substantial. So he built his own pit.
“I grew up on a farm and I always liked tinkering with stuff and I enjoy welding and metal fabrication and all that, and I had always wanted to build a smoker,” Arnis said. “I didn’t know anything about smokers or barbequing, but I always thought, I want to buy an old propane tank and build a smoker.
Day and night, he worked with his grill, perfecting, learning, and trying to make the most magnificent meat possible. Once he felt his brisket was the best, he set up a roadside shack.
“It was really easy to blow people’s minds whenever they were just going down the highway and saw a random food trailer on the side of the road and then like nobody around, and, you know, they’d get a sandwich and they’d think, ‘Man, that’s a really good barbeque sandwich coming from a trailer on the side of the road in Wolfforth, Texas,” said Arnis.
Now he’s got a brand-new brick and mortar meat house, complete with two massive pits and a long line everyday he’s open. Richard Farkas is usually the first in line.
“I get here first thing Thursdays and usually Saturday mornings as well,” Farkas said. “Good barbeque makes everybody feel better doesn’t it?”
Originally from central Texas, Richard feels he’s found BBQ he can believe in.
“I took a bite and I said, we have a new winner,” said Farkas.
Texans from all over the state agree that Evie Mae’s may just be one of the Lone Star State’s greatest. Listy Dowell from Dallas ranks it right up near the top of the list.
“It’s up there with Franklin’s, with Pecan Lodge, all of the popular spots in Texas,” Dowell said.
Not a bad comparison to have, considering Arnis just started selling Texas’s favorite fine food in February of 2015.
“The only way I can describe our success here is fortunate and we’ve been extremely blessed and probably a little bit lucky too,” said Arnis. “I feel a real sense of responsibility to make sure that every day is consistent with the day before, and that’s the challenge.”
A sense of responsibility and commitment to excellence that makes Evie Mae’s well worth a stop on The Texas Bucket List.
“Texas barbeque is the best, therefore the best in the world and, in my opinion, this is the best of the best,” Farkas said.